Figwort Bitter-Root
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Figwort Bitter-Root
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Figwort Bitter-Root • Nepali: कुटकि Kutki
Botanical name: Neopicrorhiza scrophulariiflora    Family: Plantaginaceae (Isabgol family)
Synonyms: Picrorhiza scrophulariiflora

Figwort Bitter-Root is a perennial herb, 4-12 cm tall. Rhizomes are up to 1 cm in diameter, coarsely rooting from nodes. Leaf-stalks are short, leaves spoon-shaped to ovate, 3-6 cm, black when dry, base tapering, margin toothed or rarely double toothed. Flowering stem is brown glandular hairy. Flower spike 1-2 cm. Flower-stalks are 2-3 mm. Sepal cup is 4-6 mm, up to 1 cm in fruit, sepals lanceshaped to obovate-oblong, upper sepal linear, brown glandular hairy. Flowers are dark purple, 0.8-1 cm, outside velvety, tube 2-3 mm to 4-5 mm, lower lip about 1/2 as long as upper, 3-lobed, lateral lobes with 2 or 3 small teeth. Upper lip is hooked, emarginate. Capsules are narrowly ovoid, 8-10 mm. Figwort Bitter-Root is found in alpine grassland, gravelly areas in the Himalayas, from Nepal to Bhutan, China, NE India, Myanmar, at altitudes of 3500-4800 m. Flowering: July-August.
Medicinal uses: Rhizomes and roots are used to treat high blood pressure, fever, bile and other intestinal pains and cold and sore throats.

Identification credit: D.S. Rawat Photographed in Tawang distt, Arunachal Pradesh.

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